Published Articles

Monday, January 11, 2016

I had a friend with an odd sense of humor. As he greeted guests at the door, he would yell over his shoulder to his wife, "Put more water in the soup!" Of course, there was always more than enough food. It was his way of bringing a smile to his guests' faces. But for some people, putting more water in the soup isn't a joke — it's a fact.

No, I'm not talking about desperately poor people, who must really water down the physical nourishment of their families. I'm talking about well-to-do people who have no need to do so, yet who continually water down the intellectual and spiritual nourishment of their nation and their civilization. I'm talking about people who for decades have been watering down the education, the civic pride, and the religion of everyone's family.

If you start with really rich, thick soup, you can water it down considerably, and it will still be nourishing. Only after an extreme degree of dilution will you reach a point that the soup can no longer sustain life. It's the same with education, civic pride, and religion. If you start with really rich material, it can withstand a good deal of dilution before it is no longer...



Thursday, January 7, 2016

There are many ways to assess a civilization. It all depends on your point of view. Some people believe we are advancing. These people point to a woman's "freedom to choose," more "rights" for those accused of crimes, and greater "tolerance." Other people believe we are declining. These people point to nearly a million babies killed every year, up to the time of birth and sometimes even after. They point to increasing reluctance of the law-abiding to rely on the legal system. They point to widespread cheating in schools, in business, in government, and in relationships.

Those who believe we are declining point to the same events as those who believe we are advancing — they just see these events from a different perspective. But are there some ways to assess our civilization that most people might agree on? In an effort to find such methods, I adjourned to the bathroom, where I often do my best thinking, and came upon a possibility.

The toilet-paper index

A few years ago, I'm not sure exactly when, rolls of toilet paper all shrank an inch or two in width. The rolls used to fit snugly into their holders, which had remained the same for many decades. But...



Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The downing of a Russian jet by a Turkish F-16 fighter plane is a distracting development for the war on ISIS, as well as an event that could have ominous repercussions for the NATO alliance. Turkey says the Russian plane, a Su-24 aircraft, was shot down while violating Turkish airspace. The Russians deny this and affirm that their jet did not stray from Syrian airspace. Turkey, a member of NATO, is supported by the Western alliance that asserts the Turkish claim that the Russian warplane violated Turkish airspace, flying over a tongue of land stretching into Syria.

What is lost here is the fact that despite political disagreements about the Syrian government, both the Russian Federation and Turkey should be cooperating on the war on terror and the defeat of ISIS; instead they are responding in a historic and adversarial manner that could lead to a major and potentially catastrophic war in Europe involving not just old historic enemies — i.e., Turkey and Russia — but also NATO and the U.S. with calamitous consequences for Europe. Defiant Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan should be reconsidering Turkey’s rules of engagement in alleged Turkish...



Thursday, November 19, 2015

Inheritance and estate taxes (collectively referred to as the “death tax”) are the taxes one must pay to the government to be able to inherit property or money following the death of loved ones. With inheritance taxes, the beneficiary pays the tax before taking possession of the money or property. With the estate tax, the tax is levied on the decedent’s assets before the beneficiaries may receive their inheritance. Either way, the State (the government) takes its share: The bigger the legacy, the larger the government’s slice of the pie! Despite the alleged fairness, these inordinate taxes are government money-grabbing wealth redistribution schemes fueled by the politics of envy and promoted by progressive politicians usually of the Democratic persuasion. Inordinate estate tax rates are a measure of the level of socialism afflicting a given society. This is so because demagogic politicians pander to the dark side of human nature, eliciting envy to pander to the resentful, eyeing the money they can grab, seeing the votes they can buy, muscling the power they can exert over the masses, and enjoying the perks they can obtain for themselves. It is sold supposedly to the people as a...

Keyword(s): economics, taxation, taxes


Sunday, November 8, 2015

If Gerald Posner’s book, Case Closed — Lee Harvey Oswald and the Assassination of JFK (1993), convinced me that Lee Harvey Oswald killed JFK and acted alone, Reclaiming History — The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy by Vincent Bugliosi (2007) removed any possible lingering doubts that I may have had, even subconsciously. Take for instance, the troubling Silvia Odio incident that was not satisfactorily explained in Posner’s book, Bugliosi (photo, left) analyzes it carefully, as he did with all contentious “anomalies” in the JFK assassination, and formulates a more plausible alternative scenario than those propounded by conspiracy theorists.

Presumably three men, two Cuban-Americans and Lee Harvey Oswald (or someone who looked like Oswald), visited the Cuban exiled sisters, Sylvia and Annie Odio, at their home in Dallas on or about September 25, 1963, shortly before Oswald traveled to Mexico. Unlike Posner, Bugliosi believed Odio to be a credible witness and assumes the visit took place as she described. The Odio sisters' father was an anti-communist rebel incarcerated in a Cuban prison since 1962 for anti-Castro activities. According to Sylvia Odio, Oswald...



Sunday, November 1, 2015

Source: The Telegraph

I am reproducing this table on cancer survival rates throughout the world in its original form, rather than formatting it to fit the page better. My purpose is to show clearly which nation is at the top in this crucial field. Other aspects of health are affected by many factors, only some of which are within the grasp of health care. But our chances of surviving cancer are very closely related to the care we receive.

Look at the table. Now tell me why, if the American health-care system is “broken,” we have the best cancer-survival statistics for most forms of men’s and women’s cancer. And then tell me why so many “progressives” urge us to emulate the health-care systems of European nations with lower cancer-survival figures. Does this make sense? Is this about improving our health or controlling our people?

But perhaps you prefer a graph.

If the American health-care system is “broken,” what would you call these systems? What is worse than “broken”? Dilapidated? Decrepit? Rattletrap? Moribund? Yet the American Left has nothing but praise for these systems.

Perhaps...



Sunday, October 4, 2015

"A Conservative is a fellow who is standing athwart history yelling 'Stop!' " — William F. Buckley, Jr.

In the context of my article on this subject,[1] I have been asked if there is also a classical versus modern conservatism paradigm similar to the classical versus modern liberalism, and was invited to write an article about the subject.

In response, let’s say that in such a context, there is no such classification of classical versus modern conservatism, as there is with liberalism; although there are various alleged forms of conservatism that, like liberalism, varies somewhat from country to country and can be defined and characterized in general terms. Conservatism is the political philosophy that seeks to preserve traditional social and religious institutions of Western culture and civilization deemed desirable, if not sacrosanct, and seeking to maintain stability, law, and order, while at the same time limiting the power of government, as to preserve the natural rights — i.e., life, liberty and property — of the individual, as to allow him freely to pursue happiness without impinging on the rights or property of others....



Thursday, October 1, 2015

In a recent op-ed entitled, “The ‘Enlightenment’ keeps on winning,” James A. Haught, an editor emeritus of a West Virginia newspaper, asserts in his latest column that since the advent of the Enlightenment, for three centuries, liberals have scored a string of historical victories over conservatives, and he “hopes the progressive pattern keeps rolling forever.”

Haught writes: “Around three centuries ago, major thinkers began advocating democracy, human rights and personal freedoms. Their period became known as the Enlightenment. It launched the long-running liberals-versus-conservatives conflict still driving much of today’s politics.” After scantily listing the contributions of Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679), John Locke (1632-1704; photo, right), Baron Montesquieu (1689-1755) and even Voltaire, he goes on to characterize our Founders: “Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, James Madison, Benjamin Franklin, etc. were brilliant radicals who absorbed the Enlightenment ideas and incorporated them into the first modern democracy.”

Yes, our Founding Fathers were brilliant men, sons of the Enlightenment, but as to being called “radicals” that is subject to debate, as is the...



Saturday, September 5, 2015

On Dismantling Christianity and the musings of Dr. Bill Cummings — False assumptions or deliberate misinterpretations?

When discussing politics and religion, one can expect serious disagreements, especially when they are discussed together and when the writer expresses provocative arguments that go against the grain.[1] Nevertheless, Mr. Neil M. Cullinan’s letter contains so many errors, false assumptions, and deliberate distortions that I feel compelled to correct and clarify several points.[2]

First, let’s clear up some pesky historical facts: All of the Middle East was once Christian, including Constantinople (Istanbul), which was the second capital of Christendom. Compared to the Mohammedan fire and sword conquests of the 7th and 8th centuries, the conquest of the Ottomans of the Byzantine Empire in the 14th and15th centuries, and the decimation of the Hindus by the Moguls in India from the 12th through the 18th centuries, resulting in the deaths of hundreds of millions of people — the Crusades were a walk in the park, and in the end the Mamlukes exterminated the Christians (Crusaders or not) and erased the Latin kingdoms from the earth.[3,4]

Second, it...



Wednesday, August 26, 2015

For new readers it might be difficult to tell if Dr. Bill Cummings’ column “Is Christianity dying in America?”[1] was written with glee or with slight regret, like the puzzling smile of Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa.” For those of us who have read some of his previous columns deprecating the Catholic Church, of course, it is not difficult to discern the gloating and streak of satisfaction, especially when he affirms that while it is not dying, “it’s declining for sure.”[2,3]

The persistent attacks upon the foundation of an institution in which he formerly belonged, which educated and nurtured him as a former priest, and perhaps inspired him in his eventually becoming a successful motivational speaker and business executive is a sad state of affairs. And as he points out, Cummings, who strives to be a latter-day Voltaire, is not alone in his thinly veiled rejection of his faith: Christianity and the Catholic Church are indeed in a declivity ushering the decline in Western civilization and America, the pinnacle of that civilization.[4,5]

Make no mistake about it, concomitant with the decline in Judeo-Christian values, America is in moral and economic decline,...





Images from Cuba before Fidel Castro's 1959 revolution.